Saturday morning at 8am I headed out to pick up Penny for, "Kristy & Penny's California Classic Fresno Half Marathon Road Trip 2011" I was excited to finally get a little weekend away, and to race in a different city with friends was making it that much better. The drive from LA to Fresno is about 4 hours. We had snacks and plenty of music to keep us entertained while we drive through farmlands. We decided to take highway 99, which in my opinion is allot better then highway 5. There is a little more to "see" but not much.
I learned a few things about Penny on the 4 hour drive, she likes to rock out to Floggin Molly, her dancing skills have improved since she works with dancer and singers at her job, and she's is extremely competitive with FourSquare. Between her dancing and my horrible singing, we had quite the show going in my car.
We had been on the road for a while when I spotted a Sonic Burger advertisement. Since it was feeding time for me we decided to stop. Who can resist tater tots, burgers, and milkshakes...NOT THESE GIRLS!!! It was the best meal EVER...seriously it was delicious, totally hit the spot!
Meal of Deliciousness!
After checking into our hotel Penny and I decided to head out to find a place to relax maybe get a drink and snacks. The only place close enough was the "Club One Casino", so we did what was logical and went it. This had to be one of the best people watching places I have ever been to..it put Disneyland people watching to shame. I would go into details but this casino would need a whole blog post to itself. Let's just say it was fun and we laughed so hard that my stomach and cheeks hurt.
That evening we had reservations at 5 restaurant with Linda and Row. Dinner was delicious and the company was even better. I'm not a big carb loader since I have a fragile tummy, so indulging on food the day before a race isn't really my thing. However, when I read what the Capellini came with, I had to order it. It was so good that I forgot to take a picture of it. Take my word for it....DELICIOUS!!!
Punk Rock Racing Tee and my Baby Spice Buns!
The race started exactly at 7am, we heard the air horn and we were off. We all stayed together for awhile then speedy Row was out of our sight. I told Penny at the beginning of the race that this was a fun run for me, so I was planning on staying together the whole way. I was doing fine for the first 3/4 mile then all of a sudden I had the worst pain going from not one, but both exterior ankles up to my calve. I'm not sure if I didn't stretch enough, but I knew if the pain didn't go away there was no way I was going to be able to run 13.1 miles. For 3 miles I was telling myself to "run it out, just run it out" I could feel my muscles warming up, so I had big hopes the pain was going to go away...my goodness it really hurt! I let Penny know what was going on since I kept taking walk breaks to see if it would help. Then finally around mile 4 I realized the pain was gone...Looks like an appointment with my A.R.T.therapist is in my future.
The course took us in and out of streets, over one overpass and in an industrial area. Then at mile 6 we hit the zoo entrance. This was my absolute FAVORITE mile. The animals were all out...except for the bear he wanted absolutely nothing to do with what was going on. We were running in the cool shade, the birds were singing, and the volunteers were having a great time..I loved it! If the race lapped around the zoo for the rest of the run I would've been a happy camper!
Running through the zoo!
The weather started to get a little hot and I know how much Penny HATES the heat. I also know that this weather is not good for her asthma. I would run up a little past her, and she would catch up during my walk breaks. We did that for most of the way. Everything was fine then all of a sudden at mile 9 she started to feel an asthma attack happen. I pulled her to the side of the course into the shade, and did my best to keep her calm. After the experience I had with her asthma at the Surf City Half Marathon, I did a bit of research on what to when this happens. I will never experince having one, but now I'm aware of what to do when she does. I stayed allot calmer this time then I did at Surf City. I made sure she took her time to get her breathing back before we were off again on. We walked a bit then started on a slow run until she was ready to speed up. Penny is such a trooper, if that was me I would've been all dramatic and called for a ride.
Finisher!! HOT, HOT, HOT!!!
We did a run/walk pace up till mile 12, that's when Penny told me to just go! Ahead of me I saw a guy that had been playing cat and mouse with Penny and I the whole race. I wasn't racing for time, but for some reason I felt the need to beat this guy. There was no reason really I just wanted the satisfaction of running past him. I would ran past him, he would run past me. I think he realized what I was doing because every time he pasted me he would look at me. Then when I would pass him he would speed up. If he wanted to play that game I was all in, he was just throwing gas into the flame at this point. We reached the turn to the finish I looked and he was a few steps behind me. I ran a little faster and BAM!! FINISH LINE! Take that random stranger!! He came in a few seconds after me, but you know what I totally WON! Official time 2:41!
Penny crossed the finish, and we found Row waiting that stands for us! The finishers area was great, tons of food, beer for Penny, and Cold Stones ice cream for me! We walked back to the hotel, showered, after a quick stop for some food we got back in the car for another 4 hours of shenanigans drive home. Half Marathon #15 in the books!
I really had a great weekend and run in Fresno. I'm always skeptical about registering for inaugural races, but this one was allot of fun. I think since they have the experience of organizing the bike races, they did well with the half marathon. The only thing I can say that I didn't like was there were maybe 5 "restroom facilities" throughout the entire course. The zoo had restrooms but that was mile 6, I didn't see another one til about mile 11. I do have to say the volunteers for this run were AMAZING! They were all over the place, cheering us on, making sure everyone was safe along the way AWESOME, AWESOME volunteers! There was also a large police presents making sure we were all safe running the streets.
Great Race....Great Weekend!!
This weekened I have Laguna Hills Half Marathon..my last half until later this year! Bittersweet!